Gee he’s good – GIO PONTI is a machine on the grass. He romped in the Arlington Million and could shorten for the Woodbine Mile next month…

Vanessa Ng photo.


 Read more below..





Things that make you say ‘wow’.

Undefeated runners CAREM CRESCENT and GHOST FLEET, both stakes winners on the weekend, STERWINS, one our best Canadian breds, EUGENE AND LAURA MELNYK, MALCOLM PIERCE, SID ATTARD and TODD KABEL.

And what about the WOODBINE MILE?

Could Arlington Million winner GIO PONTI come north for our big race in just over 4 weeks time?

BRIBON is coming (read more below)

Those were the story lines this weekend:


Vandal winner picks up 82 Beyer

Let the madness begin as the impressive looking 2-year-old colt GHOST FLEET (Arch – Destroy) won his 2nd career strat in as many races with a strong win in the Vandal Stakes yesterday at Woodbine for owner/breeder Mel Lawson’s Jim Dandy Stable.

Each year the Lawson family unleashes a good one it seems. From Jiggs Coz, to Utterly Cool, the young stakes horses are hot and heavy and are seemingly posied to make a bid at the Queen’s Plate.

Lawson has never won the Plate still and perhaps this colt will make it all the way to the summit next June.

But for now, his Vandal win was professional and once he worked his way to the front of the field, he stretched his stride and looked like he wanted so much more.

The colt, trained by Sid Attard, is a half brother to Utterly Cool and older speed star Smokey Fire and their dam Destroy is a daughter of Lawson’s champion mare ETERNAL SEARCH.

It will be fun to follow this colt as he heads down the fall trail of top 2-year-old races.

Todd Kabel capped off a huge week with this stakes score on Ghost Fleet.

More Sunday:

STERWINS joins Carem Crescent, Mullines Beach, Marchfield etc. as another stakes winner for Eugene and Laura Melnyk, whose stable have essentially cleaned up this seaosn. The Melnyks are not often seen at Woodbine but are ably represented by Bill and Iris Bristow.

Sterwins, by Runaway Groom, is over 820,000 in earnings and an 8 time time in 23 races. He overcame a slow pace to win the off-the-turf With Approval Stakes on Sunday.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce has said the Woodbine Mile could be a target for the gelding but he was not all that convincing that that would be the plan.

Sterwins ran a 99 Beyer Figure.

Hugh and Lorill Harlington and trainer Scott Fairlie celebrated a win in a maiden allowance race in the 4th event by PRETTY PRETTY GIRL, who was a beats in her 4th career start. The Thunder Gulch gal was 2nd time with Lasix.

LEGAL REVIEW, following perhaps in the hoofsteps of LEGAL MOVE (also a Bold Executive runner) as he won his 2yo debut for Woodford Racing, who won so many stakes with Legal Move. Legal Review was a $51,722 yearling and he was bred by Dr.Ron House.

And hooray for ALEZZANDRO, who won fir the first timein 2 years (since his Prince of Wales win) when he took an allowance that came off the grass. The Knob Hill fellow, trained by Kevin Attard, looked like his old self under his favourite rider , Kabel, and should be a force this fall in the older horse ranks.


CRESCENT ROLLS – 87 Beyer in Duchess

Undefeated CAREM CRESCENT went 3 for 3 in the Duchess Stakes yesterday at Woodbine – her first stakes attempt.

The Ontario bred by Distorted Humor – Can’t Be Late, Seattle Slew gal had a textbook effort to win the 7 furlong dash in 1:22 2/5.

Eugene Melnyk’s stable continues to roll as does trainer Malcolm Pierce and Eurico Rosa Da Silva had another super stakes outing.

aug10carem1.jpgCAREM CRESCENT wins the Duchess Stakes. Norm Files photo.






More Saturday:

Jungle Wave is the latest gold mine for the Tucci Stables/Sid Attard team. The same group who claimed horses like One for Rose, Just Rushing etc. etc. now have JUNGLE WAVE in the barn.

That Hold That Tiger gelding just set a course record on Saturday for 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in the Play the King prep.

Taken for $62,500 from trainer Terry Jordan and owner Peter Redekop (the Jordan barn also recently lost Drunken Love, now a double stakes winner), Jungle Wave was stakes place on turf in California but dropped to claiming for his 2009 season debut; He was recently 2nd to Fatal Bullet in the Bold Venture Stakes.

“I really liked the horse,” said Kabel (on SUN TV) about the first time he rode the gelding. “Touch wood, things are going right for him.

Kabel also heaped a great deal of praise on Attard saying ” Sid has been a big part of giving me a big shot at coming back riding.”







Race 2 – Bogue Chitto competed the Daily Double on Saturday that, while not overly pretty, worked well for his owner and breeder Luis De Hechavarria.

One race after LA GRAN LESLIE swished her tail and drifted out badly to win the first race for starter allowance mares, BOGUE CHITTO raced on his wrong lead all the way through the stretch to win his 3rd race in his last 5 starts. The Crafty Prospector gelding won his maiden in the spring for $3)k claiming and is now a 2 time allowance winner.

Tucci-Sid-Kabel two straight wins

 Race 4- A $25K claimer and is a bizarre race – every horse took back hard except for Bug’s Boy who appeared to run off early but the pace was so slow he couldn’t help but be on the pace.

He was nowhere at the finish,however as it was B B Jazz edging clear of Muskwa and holding off Mighty Vow to win for Sid Attard and Tucci Stables, their 2nd straight win.

Race 5 – The Nick Gonzalez trained entry of Mingun Miss (by first crop sire Mingun) won by half a head over entrymate First Row Centre under heavy, heavy pressure.

 Both 2yo fillies are owned by Martha Gonzalez, with the winner also owned by two other partners.

The entry was shockingly hammered down to 3 to 5 in the maiden allowance (B level) but it was smart money as the pair ran away from the field late.

Mingun Miss was making her 2nd career start and was a $12,500 yearling purchase.

Race 6 – NO FLY ZONE flew to the lead and won for $20,000 claiming for 3 Sons Racing and trainer David Thompson.

Jockey Emile Ramsammy, who lost his balance when Montana Trail deked in a race on Thursday and fell and hurt himself, was back riding.

“It seems like speed has been (mor favouring this week) and he’s a speed horse,” said Ramsammy about his ride on the Wild Wonder gelding.


LEARN FROM THE BEST – Apprentice CAROLINE DUQUET (left) has two thirds from 5 mounts. She is talking to EMMA-JAYNE WILSON.






He once ran a 118 Beyer Figure (last year) and he is a gelding who rarely runs a bad race and is a Grade 1 winner on dirt. Now BRIBON is heading to WOODBINE for the WOODBINE MILE!


aug10brib1.jpgBRIBON, Met Mile winner, turf winner, is coming to Woodbine. Vanessa Ng photo.


 Phil-ing in the Blanks

Bribon wins in return to grass

By Phil Janack

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A Grade 1 winner on dirt in his last start, Bribon made a successful return to the turf in today’s fifth race at Saratoga.

A 6-year-old gelding trained by Robert Ribaudo, Bribon settled in behind horses and sprinted clear when jockey Alan Garcia found room in the stretch to win the one-mile innerturf optional claiming allowance.

Bribon hit the wire in 1:33. 69, narrowly missing the course record of 1:33.42 set by L’Oiseau d’Argent in 2004.

“I wasn’t watching the time, I was just watching him,” Ribaudo said. “He seemed pretty comfortable going down the backside. Alan though he had all horse. He was comfortable being in behind horses and then when he found a way through he just exploded for him, and that’s all you can ask.”

Bribon won the Grade 1 Met Mile on May 25 last time out, and the Grade 3 Westchester one start before that. Today’s race was the first on grass for Bribon since July 13, 2007, and he is now 3-2-1 in 11 career turf tries.

“We had no other place to go,” Ribaudo said. “This was a good experiment to see if we could get him back on grass and if he can perform anywhere near what he did in the past, there’s a race in Canada worth a million dollars that we’re thinking about. If he didn’t run any good, it wasn’t the end of the world. We would have put him back on the dirt.”

Ribaudo said the Grade 1 Forego at seven-eighths on dirt Sept. 5 at Saratoga would have been next had Bribon run poorly. Now, they’ll take aim at the Grade 1 $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sept. 19 in Toronto.





She gets it done but it is not as full of flair as her younger counterpart, Ms. Alexandra. Anyway, Zenyatta won the ‘Hirsch Stakes yesterday with a last lunge.


According to Trakus calculations, Zenyatta ran her last quarter mile in :22.49 and reached her maximum speed of 40 mph at

the wire.


DEL MAR, Calif. — Zenyatta stayed perfect, but just barely.

The sensational mare improved her record to 12-0 with a narrow victory in Sunday’s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar.

Zenyatta dropped back to last in her usual fashion, then ran four horses wide into the stretch and rallied to win by a head under strong urging from Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

“Wasn’t that something!” he said.

Zenyatta covered 1 1-16 miles in 1:43.24 and paid $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 1-5 wagering favorite. Heavy betting on her by the crowd of 20,335 created a minus show pool of $95,010.

Anabaa’s Creation returned $7.60 and $5.80, while Lethal Heat was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $5.20 to show. Three horses were scratched, leaving Zenyatta to face six rivals in the Grade 1 race on the synthetic surface.

“I thought I won it,” said Tyler Baze, who rode Anabaa’s Creation. “She ran her fanny off. We got beat by a champion. I didn’t know where she (Zenyatta) was, but I knew she was coming. She came and just got us.”

Smith said he underestimated the competition.

“They made her run. She really was running easy. Her ears were pricking back and forth and she was just loping,” he said. “I never hit her, but I showed her the stick. I knew we had to get busy at the finish. When we got right near the wire she hit another gear. Then when we crossed and I stood up she hit another gear. On the gallop out she was drawing away.”

Zenyatta is just one win shy of matching Personal Ensign’s perfect 13-race career.

“It was very, very close down there,” winning trainer John Shirreffs said. “All the way down the stretch I’m hollering, ‘Get ’em, Get ’em.’ What I really liked about her race is that she had a lot of ground to make up and she put her head down and kept making it up. She never picked her head up. She kept reaching out and running for the wire. That’s Zenyatta.”

Zenyatta carried co-high weight of 123 pounds, spotting five other horses 4 pounds each. She won the Hirsch by a length a year ago, covering the distance in a track record of 1:41.48.

The 5-year-old mare is 3-0 this year, with her other victories in the Vanity and Milady handicaps at Hollywood Park, her home track.


Ontario bred wins allowance race at Delaware

MAGICALCARPETRIDE is 2 for 3 now after am allowance win at Delaware yesterday at 1 mile and 70 yards. The Ontario bred by Smart Strike – Catch the Moment by Unbridled is an Ontario bred and a 3yo who cost $220,000 as a yearling.

She was bred by Dr. John Cummins.




aug10break1.jpgNORM FILES PHOTO of BREAK EVEN.

FORT ERIE, August 9 – Wicked early fractions set up a perfect trip for Break Even in the Fans Cup Sunday afternoon at Fort Erie .

With Michael McMullen in the saddle, Break Even relaxed off the pace set by F(r)ezacon and made a solid late run to win the one mile and one sixteenth test by 1 ½ lengths. The final time over a sloppy main track was 1:44 1/5.

“He never runs a bad race,” said McMullen. “There was good pace today and I was able to sit back and relax. He really fired when he had to.”

Owned by Sam Passero and trained by Bob Gilyana, Break Even has raced 28 times in 2008 and 2009.

He paid $11.90, $3.80 and $2.60. Great Addiction, who was looking for his third win of the year, also came from off the pace and finished second returning $2.40 and $2.20. Smiling Jordan paid $4.40 to show. The exactor returned $28.70 and the triactor paid $173.30.

Next Sunday Ontario Sired fillies and mares will compete in the $125,000 Rainbow Connection Stakes, a five furlong sprint on the Fort Erie turf course.